The Global Times is doing a global service by raising awareness about fatal medical incidents associated with foreign vaccines which many in the West might not have been aware of until they read those articles. Although Griffiths proves that the deaths in question “were reported on by CNN, among numerous US media outlets”, those platforms don’t have an exclusive monopoly on reporting and shouldn’t claim that their Chinese counterparts reporting on the same is akin to “disinformation”.
CNN published an incendiary “analysis” on Tuesday alleging that “China is hitting back at criticism of its vaccines with a dangerous disinformation campaign”. The weaponized narrative being propagated in the piece is that publicly financed Chinese media outlets like the Global Times are spreading so-called “disinformation” about Western vaccines. This is allegedly being done in response to anomalous results from Sinovac’s late-stage clinical trials in Brazil alleging an efficiency rate of 50.38%, which starkly contrasts with the company’s initial figure of 78% and Turkey’s claims of 91.25% efficiency, all of which were cited in the article.
James Griffiths, the senior producer for CNN Digital Worldwide in Hong Kong who wrote the piece in question, concludes that the Global Times’ recent work about Pfizer’s vaccine deaths and defending Sinovac from the Western disinformation against it is leading to people “get[ting] the false impression coronavirus vaccines are dangerous”. He then notes that “China has among the least vaccine hesitant populations in the world”, but instead of acknowledging that this debunks his narrative, he speculates that it “may explain why the country’s propaganda outlets feel freer to play fast and loose with reporting on Western vaccines.”
In reality, it is CNN’s article that represents the true source of anti-vaccine disinformation, not the Global Times’ recent reporting. It’s true that Griffiths hyperlinks to the two Global Times articles that he criticizes, but it’s unlikely that his audience will take the time to read them after he deceitfully misreported their contents. For the sake of transparency, the two pieces are titled “Why were US media silent on Pfizer vaccine deaths?: Global Times editorial” and “Correcting misleading information by Western media on Chinese vaccines responsible measure in global pandemic fight”.
Upon reading these brief pieces in full, it becomes clear that Griffiths is the one “playing fast and loose” with his reporting. Describing those two articles as “disinformation” is dishonest. The European Democracy Action Plan from last month defines disinformation as “false or misleading content that is spread with an intention to deceive or secure economic or political gain and which may cause public harm.” From this understanding, it becomes clear that the Global Times’ articles don’t constitute disinformation as their content is true, presented in context, has no intention to deceive, doesn’t aim to secure economic or political gain, nor cause public harm.
Actually, the Global Times is doing a global service by raising awareness about fatal medical incidents associated with foreign vaccines which many in the West might not have been aware of until they read those articles. Although Griffiths proves that the deaths in question “were reported on by CNN, among numerous US media outlets”, those platforms don’t have an exclusive monopoly on reporting and shouldn’t claim that their Chinese counterparts reporting on the same is akin to “disinformation”. Doing that is disinformation itself since it’s misleading, spread with an intention to deceive, to secure economic and political gain, and causes public harm.
CNN wants to misportray the work of Chinese media in order to deceive their targeted audience into wrongly thinking that they’re spreading “dangerous disinformation” out of spite because of the anomalous results from Sinovac’s late-stage clinical trials in Brazil. Another motivation for waging this latest dimension of the West’s information war against China is to make people distrust the Chinese vaccine, which in turn could result in economic and political gain for its Western competitors. Finally, since the Chinese vaccine is being provided to Global South nations, this could lead to lost lives if people refuse to take it after reading CNN’s article.
The West is pretending that it’s the victim of Chinese anti-vaccine disinformation, but in reality it’s actually the purveyor of anti-vaccine disinformation against China. CNN’s latest article on the topic is a perfect example of this, though many other such instances exist as noted by the Global Times in their articles that Griffith misreported in his work. China wants the whole world to have access to vaccines as soon as possible, but it wants people to be free from the harm that might be caused by some of the products available on the market right now. It’s despicable that this caring concern is being dishonestly spun as “anti-vaccine disinformation”.